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Peter Gabriel - Up CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

4.00 | 573 ratings

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3 stars Up has been a most pleasant surprise for anyone who cared to listen. 10 years after his previous album and last commercial success, the mainstream couldn't be less concerned about anything Gabriel. Neither did he care a dime about the mainstream. Up is an ambitious album with extended compositions that have been heavily worked on in the studio. Luckily it's not overdone, or is it?

I must say that some songs could have been improved a lot by chopping off 1 or 2 minutes and pealing off a few layers of studio wittyness. The opening Darkness for example has a most impressive opening, quite proggy in a way, featuring entwined vocal dialogue and a loud and noisy Crimsonesque main theme. After a good 4 minutes, you could find your attention wavering.

Growing Up is even longer, but it's saved by its entrancing beat. Sky Blue is a dark melancholic anthem that can join the ranks of Mercy Street and Red Rain. The heavy self-importance of Don't Leave is a weighty listen, the soft parts don't have vocal lines that are strong and memorable enough. They fit into the category of David Sylvians less melodic meditations. And so fares I Grieve, a ballad with the material for 2 minutes stretched into a unmanageable length of 7 and a half. It gets a bit of a pace in its last 2 minutes but its an old man's pace, not the vibrant swirl of Growing Up.

My Head Sounds Like That is ok but rather sounds like a John Lennon song then like Peter Gabriel. Also More Then This bears the mark of a muse that solicits for early retirement. Luckily the album ends with two adroit composition. Signal To Noise is the most impressive. It has a slightly industrial and menacing power. The feverish flamenco outburst by the guest vocalist compensate for Gabriel's more understated expressivity. The Drop keeps things at a shorter song length that more songs should have taken an example from.

After its initial good impression, Up has not continued to impress me. It makes for good mood music but the extended song lengths and carefully assembled arrangements can become a weary experience. As a Peter Gabriel fan you should not skip this album though. 3.5 stars

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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